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Sistersville General Hospital Charting New Course

By MILES LAYTON

Staff Writer

SISTERSVILLE — Sistersville General Hospital has charted a course for change.

Sistersville City Council decided to put the hospital up for bid in December, but the hospital will continue to provide quality care.

“SGH continues to provide quality, lifesaving care,” said Brandon Chadock, interim chief executive officer. “We face many of the same challenges as other rural hospitals. Fortunately, we have both a strong Board of Managers and City Council dedicated to ensuring health care in this area for years to come.”

City leaders and Sistersville General were involved in discussions during fall about the future of the city-owned hospital. Dozens of people attended a council meeting in September, during which then-Sistersville General CEO John May said due to the nature of health care, rural hospitals are at risk of closing as they struggle with government red tape and finances.

SGH’s Board of Directors recommended the hospital be put for bid in December. City Hall endorsed the future path of the hospital that has served the city for many decades.

“I really think this is the best thing to do,” said Mayor Bill Rice during council’s special meeting Dec. 20 to discuss the board’s recommendation.

“If we are going to keep the hospital operational, someone has to help us.”

Linda Leasure, Sistersville General board chairwoman, said the board’s decision was made under the advice of the hospital’s legal counsel.

“After deliberation, we felt that this option provided for the hospital, the employees and our community as a whole,” she said.

“We also agree that this option allows all interested parties to participate in the process and declare their interests in a formal proposal.”

Bob Coffield, the hospital’s attorney, said the first step in the sale will be to assess the hospital’s assets and liabilities.

He estimated that the process could take two to six months.

Once the public bidding process occurs, he said, it would take longer to close any transaction.

West Virginia University Medicine, which took over management of Wetzel County Hospital, has indicated an interest in SGH.

Wheeling Hospital has expressed an interest in acquiring SGH.

But that was not the only news about SGH. Citing “personal reasons,” Sistersville General Hospital CEO John May called it quits in early October.

“Due to personal reasons, I am resigning as CEO at Sistersville General Hospital,” May wrote in a letter addressed to hospital employees. “We are a rural hospital and members of a dying breed. Our facilities are not fancy and we do not offer many services available at larger facilities. Our strength lies with our people you. It has been a pleasure to be associated with you for nearly the past four years.”

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